by Jay Dennis
The 21 words of Proverbs 22:6, offer hope, encouragement, direction, and promise to every parent. It is vitally important that dads understand exactly what this verse means.
“Start children off on the way they should go,and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6 offers more hope for parenting than any other verse in the Bible. Dads, be encouraged. In this verse there is a promise attached but a condition that must first be met.The word “Train,” means to dedicate and further has the idea of starting. You have to start somewhere and that should be when your son or daughter is in the womb. At every age and every stage, you dedicate your child to God. “Train Up,” means to create a taste or create a desire within. Dad, you are to create a hunger, a desire of the things of God, by your example first and then your words.
The phrase, “In the way he should go,” has the idea of in the way of God’s truth, in the way of God’s will, and in the way of God’s Word. “In the way he should go,” also has the idea of according to your child’s unique personality. You match God’s Word to your child’s unique learning style.
It is significant to understand this is not about a set of rules; it is about a relationship with your child that has boundaries. The word, “Should,” implies moral authority. You are using the Bible as God’s moral authority on teaching your child what is right, what is not right, how to get right with God and and how to stay right with Him.
Dads, there are two essentials that must be in place: 1. You have to bring God’s Word into their lives every day, first by example and then by teaching. 2. You have to expose your child to the things of God on a regular and consistent basis. Dads make absolutely certain that attending church is a weekly priority. Watching online is a convenient option, but should not replace attending God’s House consistently.
When you live by and teach Proverbs 22:6, you can expect that will continue to draw your child’s mind, emotions and spirit back to God. Dad, the stakes are high and the job description is clear, you are to be the loving spiritual director of your home.
Briefly, I want to share the Top Ten Mistakes Dads Make in Raising Their Children:
Mistake #1: Not Continually Working on Having a Great and Growing Marriage
This may be the number 1 mistake dads make in raising their children. The best thing you can do for your child, outside of leading him or her to Christ, is to work on having a great marriage with your wife as you love her unconditionally and serve her sacrificially (Ephesians 5:25).
Men, keep dating and romancing your wife and let your child know and see how much you love his or her mother.
Mistake #2: Lack of Discipline
Dads must focus on the when and how to discipline (Proverbs 13:24; 23:13-15). Watch out for three mistakes:
- The Mistake of No Discipline: No clear boundaries of right and wrong, rewards and punishments
- The Mistake of Too Much Discipline: Making every issue a battle and not making the punishment fit the disobedience
- The Mistake of Discipline Without Love: Disciplining out of aggravation or frustration rather than lovingly correcting your child.
Mistake #3: Trying to Be Your Child’s Buddy Instead of Being their Dad
You are first your child’s parent and sometimes a parent has to do some things that his child will not like. You are his or her authority. Yes, it’s important to laugh with your child and do fun things together, but you are the rule setter and rule enforcer. You aren’t trying to win a popularity contest, you are intentionally giving your child a biblical worldview and not focusing on saying and doing things to get your child to like you.
Mistake #4: Neglecting To Incorporate the Spiritual into Every Area of Life
Dads, you are tasked by God to pass down your biblical faith to your child. Moses gave dads specific instructions in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 giving us the how, where, what, when, and why of raising a child who is passionate about God and His Word. Your child must understand that Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but it is not a private faith. Our faith must permeate every area of our lives.
Mistake #5: Not Expressing Your Love
Dad, children need to hear from you these three words. “I Love You” at least once a day. Express your blessing to your child through the words your speak and the encouragement you offer about God’s special future for your child. (Mark 10:13,16.) Let your child see that love is an action and a choice, reiterated by our words. Dads your daughters especially need your affection and so does your son.